AS he prepared to go under the knife to fix the prolapsed disc in his back, Ipswich Jets captain Keiron Lander was confident his team wasn’t in need of any major surgery.
Lander is to be operated on today and hopes to be ready to join the Jets’ pre-season training in about two months. Lander could only watch from the sidelines as the Jets bowed out of the 2011 Queensland Cup title race with their 30-6 loss to Northern Pride last Saturday. “It was pretty easy to put a finger on it,” Lander said of what went wrong in the semi-final. “We didn’t play the way we had done all year and the way we had trained. “It wasn’t that our forwards were too weak or our halves were ordinary. “We had a strong team all year. “You can’t blame anybody.”
Lander denies it was finals’ pressure that saw the Jets produce one of their highest error rates this season. “Definitely not,” he said. “Our preparation was quality. “It was one of those nights you have. Every team has them. “The little passes that usually work for us worked in the first 10 or 15 minutes. “Then we made a break, threw a pass that didn’t go to hand and things went badly from there.”
The Jets surprised many this year just by making the finals, though for Lander it was just a beginning. He wants to see the Jets become a club to rate alongside the Queensland Cup powerhouses, built on sustained success and a winning culture. “I think we built really well this year,” Lander said.
“The aim is to improve on that. “We have built a wonderful culture here at the Jets. “We want to improve on that not just next year, but further on. “We want all three grades going well, not just one.” Lander is not too focused on recruiting players for 2012 to improve on the field, believing there is enough talent already available for them to progress.
“We’ll lose Luke Capewell,” he said of the Brisbane Broncos-bound fullback. “That’s a big loss for any team. “If we can get another Luke, it would be good. “But the Ipswich competition is very competitive. “There are a lot of blokes there that could step up if given the opportunity. “We watched the (Ipswich Rugby League) grand final on Sunday. “There’s a lot of players who could come to the Jets and perform for us.” Whoever is on board next season, reaching the semi-finals alone will not make Lander happy.
“Our goal is the same every year,” he said. “To get to the grand final and win it. “I don’t know what team goes into the pre-season thinking making the semis is a good thing.”